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Oregon announces clean-up of wildfire ash and debris at no up-front cost

(Photo courtesy of Sean Roberts)

While clean-up of hazardous household waste is already well underway in areas devastated by the September fires, Oregon's Monday announcement means that full clean-up can begin.

Posted: Nov 16, 2020 11:29 AM

SALEM, Ore. —The second phase of clean-up after Oregon's devastating September fires will be offered at no cost to property owners, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management announced on Monday.

While hazardous household waste clean-up is already wrapping up in areas ravaged by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires, Monday's announcement marks the first indication that state officials have a no-cost plan to clean the ash and debris left behind.

The clean-up will include mobile home parks, second homes, businesses and other structures destroyed or damaged by the fires.

Home and business owners that opt into this government-led wildfire cleanup program will pay no upfront costs for any cleanup work, OEM said. No government agency — whether state, federal or contractor — will seek payment from any insurance policy unless it is "specifically designated for debris removal or left over after the home or business is completely rebuilt."

The no-cost cleanup is available to home and business owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.

“Our mission is to safely clear the ash and debris as quickly as possible, and leave Oregonians with a clean site so they can rebuild,” said Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “This will take time, strong partnerships and a lot of hard work, but we’re already well on our way. I encourage every Oregonian who lost a home or business in the wildfires to sign a Right of Entry form with their county, if they haven’t already, to help keep this important work moving forward.”

Much like the earlier hazardous waste clean-up, property owners need to sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form to allow crews onto the property. The clean-up itself will include removal of ash and structural debris, hazard trees, concrete foundations, and burned vehicles.

"Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process," OEM said. "Step 1 is removal of household hazardous waste, which is dangerous to people, communities and the environment. This work is nearly completed in all fire-impacted counties."

Oregon is currently hiring contractors to carry out Step 2 of the clean-up, scheduled to begin in December. That step is expected to take between 6 and 18 months to finish statewide.

"The 2020 September wildfires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon’s history," OEM said. "Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery."

FEMA will be reimbursing Oregon for portions of the clean-up costs, and the state will fund what remains. Early estimates put the debris clean-up costs at more than $600 million, including $326 for ash and debris removal, and $295 million to remove hazard trees.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 193732

Reported Deaths: 2572
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah38352591
Washington25592233
Marion22026306
Clackamas17440214
Lane13007148
Jackson10862139
Deschutes896274
Umatilla820284
Linn492969
Yamhill446376
Klamath441164
Polk375752
Malheur351863
Josephine334570
Douglas327271
Benton310019
Jefferson219837
Coos206633
Columbia174427
Union144823
Lincoln137921
Wasco137728
Hood River118730
Crook111322
Morrow110716
Clatsop9858
Baker95414
Tillamook6493
Curry6469
Grant5095
Lake4517
Harney3448
Wallowa1845
Gilliam631
Sherman581
Wheeler321
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3764405

Reported Deaths: 62573
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123645624067
Riverside2994554594
San Bernardino2967824715
San Diego2785913729
Orange2709835026
Santa Clara1190642096
Kern1091771374
Sacramento1048401686
Fresno1018381688
Alameda879401657
Ventura810011013
San Joaquin732201391
Contra Costa68741805
Stanislaus621421061
Tulare49654839
Monterey43613383
San Mateo42038568
San Francisco36720544
Santa Barbara34337456
Solano32953252
Merced31898460
Sonoma30035320
Imperial28443726
Kings22989246
Placer22679292
San Luis Obispo21308260
Madera16462242
Santa Cruz16264207
Marin14056227
Yolo13910210
Shasta12152226
Butte12026199
El Dorado10168112
Napa987082
Sutter9433112
Yuba626847
San Benito606563
Lassen570624
Tehama557262
Nevada474275
Tuolumne413166
Mendocino410149
Humboldt404641
Amador365847
Lake347643
Glenn239125
Colusa223416
Siskiyou223424
Calaveras212954
Inyo142838
Del Norte13938
Mono12844
Plumas7106
Modoc4994
Mariposa4487
Trinity4005
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned520
Medford
Clear
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Brookings
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